Toyota today revealed the 2020 RAV4 TRD Off-Road model at the Chicago auto show. It’s the first time the automaker has applied the Toyota Racing Development label to its compact crossover model.
Building on the existing Trail trim’s extra ground clearance and more aggressive styling cues, the RAV4 TRD Off-Road sports a suspension system tuned for off-road driving, with more wheel travel and better body control over large bumps. RAV4 TRD Off-Road also gets all-terrain tires on weight-saving matte black wheels and other trim-exclusive cues inside and out.
That’s the extent of the distinctions compared to the rest of the RAV4 range. The TRD Off-Road is the RAV model best suited to hitting the rough stuff, but Toyota has played it safe, rather than trying to turn this into a dedicated rock crawler. For example, there is no low-range gearing to let the RAV4 keep up with the Jeep Cherokee and its available locking rear differential and low-range gearing.
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There is a torque vectoring AWD system, but it’s shared with all AWD RAV4 models. Still, it is useful for being able to direct as much as half the engine’s power to the rear axle. The setup also disconnects the rear axle when all-wheel traction isn’t needed.
Also borrowed from lesser RAV4 AWD trims is Toyota’s multi-terrain select drive modes to let the driver tailor performance to various ground surfaces.
TRD Off-Road trim uses the same 2.5 L four-cylinder engine as RAV4’s other non-hybrid models. It makes 203 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque and comes matched with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The Trail model already counts among the priciest ways to get a RAV4 with an MSRP of $38,690, and we expect the TRD Off-Road model to easily break the $40,000 mark. Toyota says the RAV4 TRD Off-Road will reach Canadian dealerships in the fall, with pricing to be announced closer to that time.